US$500m boost for health sector

By Wisdom Mumera
 Global Fund has extended a US$500 million grant to the government of Zimbabwe for the HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs.
The grant whose programs will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC, UNDP and the National Aids Council (NAC) comes at a time when Parliamentarians are threatening to sabotage the country’s 2018 budget if the health sector is not adequately funded.
Health got about US$408 million against proposal of US$1.1 billion needed to effectively provide quality healthcare in the country.
Speaking at the official signing ceremony, Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa said government is still committed to improving the health system in the country with the aid of development partners.
“With support from the grant we are signing today and support from other partners, the country’s priority is to be able to sustain the gains made so far through optimization of grant and government resources.
“The country remains committed to the 90-90-90 targets for HIV, the malaria pre-elimination agenda and the stop TB targets of ending TB by 2030,” he said.
This is not the first time the country has received support from the Global Fund.
Since the inception of Global Fund in 2002, Zimbabwe has received more than US$1 billion and the organisation has increased its financial interventions to become the largest donor partner in the entire health sector in Zimbabwe.
With support from the Global Fund and other partners Zimbabwe has made someremarkable strides in improving the health status of its people.
Annual new HIV infections have dropped by 58% from 85,450 in 2008 to 36,291 in 2017.
Aids related deaths have declined by 66% from to 78,634 in 2008 to 26,645 in 2017. More than 1million people living with HIV/AIDS are on ART.
Due to the success of the ART program, the availability of technologically advanced diagnostic tools and effective Anti-TB medicines, TB notifications have declined significantly and the country is one of the few countries that may achieve the end TB targets by 2030.
General service delivery in hospitals has however become one sticking point with non-availability of drugs and staff shortages negatively impinging on the sector.
To alleviate the situation Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa in 2017 allowed for the employment of 2000 nurses from a jobless pool of over 4000 trained professionals.
The Ministry of Health has placed it on record that it requires $1.1 billion to operate normally.

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